By: Nikissia Craig, LCSW, CCTP
Does the thought of going to a holiday party and explaining your relationship status make you feel exhausted or cringe? Whether you’re newly single, and everyone wants to know what happened, or you’re that great catch who hasn’t quite been caught. It’s ok. According to the 2017 U.S. Census there are 110.6 million unmarried adults in the United States. That’s approximately 45 percent of the U.S. adult population. We’ll save the research on the reasons why for another article. It’s important to know you’re not alone, even if your social circle looks different than the statistics. Here are some tips to stay in a more supported mindset if being single during the holidays feels daunting.
- Use reflection: The holidays often times remind us of everyone and everything that no longer is present in our lives. It’s normal to feel sadness, anger and the rest of the emotional rainbow surrounding those losses. Give yourself permission to miss people, even if they left voluntarily or you ended the relationship. Take time to honor your feelings. Consider journaling to release your thoughts in a constructive way. Self-reflection helps us to move towards acceptance of ourselves and lives.
- Monitor social media: After you’ve possibly traveled down memory lane with your journaling, you may feel the need to get updated online. Be careful. Social media can increase anxiety and depression for multiple reasons. Use caution or scale back your urges to view the highlight reels of others. Don’t allow yourself to go down a rabbit hole of regret and mixed emotions. If you choose to scroll, remember, you’re viewing a small segment of someone else’s life. It’s not fair to you to compare your life with someone else’s highlight reel.
- Get empowered: Make holiday plans but ask the host who’s on their guest list. Sometimes, friends and family invite people to gatherings who are also in the same phase of life they are in. With notice, maybe you can invite other singles or friends you know. Possibly, consider trying new events and intentionally seeking out activities that cater to other singles. If you end up at an event with just couples, focus on connecting and finding common interests with them. They’re still individuals after all. If others ask about the details of your love life, keep it brief if it bothers you. Steer the conversation towards two or three aspects of your life you’ve felt growth or progress in. You are much more than your relationship status.
- Reward yourself: Are you an upstanding citizen? Check. Are your bills paid? Check. Then consider rewarding yourself this season with a gift. Encourage yourself into exploring inspirational and passion projects. Look at creating experiences that will fulfill you more than buying things. What’s that thing you’ve been wanting to do? What’s that area of your life where you’ve been stuck but haven’t made time to tackle it? Set the intention to create more meaning and happiness in your life.
Whether it’s your relationship status or any other area of your life, the sooner we move towards acceptance, the easier it is to show up in the world more comfortable with who we are and where we are.